A Portsmouth woman was sentenced to four years in prison on Monday in a fake identity scheme that included posting a false death notice in the Daily Press while attempting to land $600,000 in life insurance proceeds.
U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar also ordered Alexandra Hatcher, 50, to pay $202,894 in restitution to victims, to include numerous car dealerships around the country.
Hatcher pleaded guilty in Newport News federal court last fall to the faked death — which was unsuccessful in landing an insurance windfall — and to more than 20 fraudulent automobile purchases around the country.
Her husband, Albert W. Hatcher Jr., 49, was sentenced to four years in prison in January in the same scheme, and is also on the hook to pay the $202,894 restitution.
In 2014 and 2015, according to court documents agreed to by both sides in October, the Hatchers took out life insurance policies on Sandra Marie Hatcher — as the current Alexandra Hatcher was then legally known — payable to Albert Hatcher Jr.
But in August 2015, Alexandra Hatcher forged death certificates saying Sandra Hatcher died in Portsmouth “of a traumatic brain injury resulting from a fall.” The couple sent the faked certificate to Navy Mutual Aid Association, asking that Albert Hatcher be paid in a lump sum. Alexandra Hatcher, posing as a relative, also called another insurance firm to say “Sandra Hatcher” was dead.
“To substantiate the false death benefits claims,” the Hatchers “created and submitted for publication a death notice” that Sandra M. Hatcher had died. “At their direction, the Daily Press published this false notice on Sept. 2, 2015.”
But Navy Mutual still didn’t make the payout, saying a “certified death certificate” was necessary to get the money.
On Sept. 3, 2015, Sandra Hatcher’s relatives were shocked to see her death listed in the Daily Press. They reported their concerns to the Portsmouth police, who went to the couple’s home and spoke to Albert Hatcher. Police said he changed his story during the conversation. When police went to the funeral home named on the fake certificate he showed them, employees had no record of the death.
Sandra Hatcher’s family soon filed a missing person’s report. Investigators later learned about several fraudulent luxury vehicle purchases, and found that the Hatchers — with Alexandra Hatcher using another alias — had gotten “remarried” in Las Vegas.
“After insurers denied their claims,” the Hatchers “undertook a cross-country fraud scheme through which they obtained at least 20 new and newer-used luxury vehicles” by presenting fake checks at car dealerships in Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, Ohio and Florida, prosecutors said. They also used the car titles to take out other fraudulent loans.
Court documents said the Hatchers caused $550,000 in losses in total.
After pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and a counterfeit check charge, they each faced up to 30 years behind bars. Federal sentencing guidelines, however, called for between 41 and 51 months to serve. At 48 months, both sentences fell within that range.
Dujardin can be reached by phone at 757-247-4749.